Don Curtis, legally changed from Don Beitelman, (May 22, 1927 - March 6, 2008), was an American professional wrestler, best known for his tag team with Mark Lewin in the 1950s and 1960s. During his teaming with Lewin they won the NWA World Tag Team Championship. He also promoted wrestling in Jacksonville, Florida until 1981.
Professional wrestling career
Curtis decided to become a professional wrestling in 1951, after working out with Lou Thesz. During his early career, he worked in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Beginning in 1958, he teamed with Mark Lewin, after promoter Eddie Graham put them together. Curtis and Lewin held the NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Northeast version) twice in 1958, trading it with Graham and his "brother" Jerry. They were also the first holders of the championship, defeating Hans Schmidt and Dick the Bruiser.
Curtis teamed with Graham in May 1960 to win the NWA Southern Tag Team Championship (Florida version). He also held the title with Bob Ellis in March 1964 and Jose Lothario in March 1967.
In 1962, Curtis moved to Florida. In 1962, he teamed with Joe Scarpa to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship (Florida version) from Kurt and Karl Von Brauner. In January 1963, he won the title with Lewin from The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Roy Heffernan). After vacating the title, Curtis and Lewin regained it in December from the Assassins (Assassin 1 and 2). Lewin left the promotion the following month, and the title was once again vacated. In May 1964, Curtis teamed with Abe Jacobs to hold the title for the last time. In Jacksonville, Florida, Curtis promoted shows and managed the coliseum.
After wrestling Curtis was inducted into the U.B. Athletic Hall of Fame for wrestling and football in 1980, as well as managing the Jacksonville Coliseum. In 2009, he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum with Mark Lewin under the "Tag Team" category.
Curtis attended the University of Buffalo, where he was an amateur wrestler. He was the team captain during 1949 and 1950.
After retiring from professional wrestling, Curtis worked in real estate. On February 26, 2008, Curtis suffered a "massive stroke", with his wife Dotty releasing a statement noting that it was "due to a blood clot breaking loose and hitting the left side of his brain." Curtis was admitted into the Mayo Clinic Hospice facility that day, and died on March 6, 2008 at the age of 80.
Championships and accomplishments
- National Wrestling Alliance
- NWA Southern Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (3 times) - with Eddie Graham (1), Bob Ellis (1), Jose Lothario (1)
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Northeast version) (2 times) - with Mark Lewin
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (4 times) - with Mark Lewin (2), Joe Scarpa (1), Abe Jacobs (1)
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Georgia version) (1 time) - with Joe Scarpa